Spot Report by OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine: SMM threatened at gunpoint near Lobacheve in Luhansk region
This report is for media and the general public.
At 10:10 on 2 August, an armed man at a known Ukrainian Armed Forces position wearing military-style clothing with no markings stopped two SMM vehicles in government-controlled areas travelling east on the road from Lopaskyne (government-controlled, 24km north-west of Luhansk) to Lobacheve (government-controlled, 17km north-west of Luhansk). When one of the SMM monitors stepped out of the vehicle to speak with the man, the latter chambered a round into his submachine gun (AKSU-74) and after removing the weapon’s safety, pointed it at the SMM monitor and put his finger on the trigger. Speaking in Russian, the armed man told the SMM “Stop. You are not going anywhere”.
The SMM requested the armed man call his commander, which he did. Standing approximately two metres away, the man kept his gun pointed at the SMM monitor and spoke to someone in Russian on his handheld radio. Approximately five to seven minutes later, another man arrived at the scene carrying an assault rifle (AK-74) with a silencer. He was accompanied by three other armed men carrying assault rifles, some of whom appeared to be intoxicated, and appeared to be in a position of authority. Some of the men were dressed in military-style clothing. Using Russian and speaking in an aggressive manner, the man said that he and the other armed men present were members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The SMM monitor asked the man who appeared to be in charge to order the armed man to lower his weapon. He did so but the weapon was not made safe.
Speaking with the commander of the group, the SMM monitor tried to diffuse the situation by explaining the Mission’s mandate and after approximately fifteen minutes, the SMM was allowed to leave the area and proceed to Lobacheve to complete their tasks.
The SMM returned safely to its base at 16:00. The Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination was informed.